One dead and many missing as Pemex offshore plant explodes in Gulf of Mexico
Six people were initially reported injured and taken to hospitals in nearby Campeche Sunday after a Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico was set ablaze following an explosion.
Later Sunday Pemex announced one of its workers had perished and several others were unaccounted for after the incident at the Ku-Alfa platform, which is part of the Ku Maloob Zaap producer complex. Known by its acronym KMZ, in shallow waters off the level of the oil state of Campeche (southeast), it generates about 40 per cent of all Mexican production, of 1.68 million barrels per day of crude.
At the beginning of July, an explosion in an underwater pipeline in that field caused a massive fire, whose images went around the world on social networks. At the time, Pemex managed to control the accident without victims.
An initial Pemex statement reported that around 4:30 p.m. local time a fire had been controlled on the E-Ku-A2 platform, due to which “five people have been injured by burns,” and were being treated at the regional hospital of Ciudad del Carmen in Campeche and the Mexican Institute of Social Security. The first statement also pointed out that “fortunately, no deaths are reported from this incident,” which in the end was not quite the case.
The incident occurred in a gas and crude distribution centre according to unofficial reports from local media, which counted six people injured, one more than the official Pemex report.
— Cinco Radio Oficial (@laredcincoradio) August 23, 2021
The state company will investigate the incident, which occurs two days after that oil region was hit by Hurricane Grace, which arrived from the Caribbean Sea last Thursday and crossed the Yucatan Peninsula where Campeche is located.
The damaged platform is part of the Ku Maloob Zaap producer complex, known by its acronym KMZ, located in shallow waters off the state of Campeche.
The incident came at a time when Pemex had announced it was still unable to meet its crude refining goals and that it was 0.8 % below the same period of 2020.
So far in 2021, the six Pemex refineries processed an average of 659 thousand barrels per day, when an increase was expected due to the relaxation of restrictive sanitary measures due to Covid-19.
The figure is far from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s target of 1,100,000 daily barrels. Refining has also become the company’s less profitable activity, compared to the same period of 2020.